8 Treadmill Buying Mistakes to Avoid

March 26, 2011

This is a guest post by Steven Bancroft.

What could be a more convenient way to workout than strolling to your living room, garage, or some other room in your home, pluggin in your MP3 player or turning on your television, and firing up the treadmill sitting there?

Thousands of people buy a treadmill every month for their home or office.

Some people scoff at the notion of buying a treadmill because you can step outside for a walk or a run. Those scoffers often live in balmy climates. What about those of us who live where we have 4 seasons? Have you ever run for 45 minutes when it’s 20 below zero? Running when it’s 20 below Fahrenheit or Celsius … it doesn’t matter which, is not much fun. You can resolve all you like that next week you’ll hit the pavement outside regardless the temperature, but many of us are simply fair-weather outdoor exercisers.

The weather doesn’t get any fairer than inside the comfort of your own home. If you’re intent on maintaining an exercise regimen, then having a treadmill in your home makes it much easier to establish and maintain a consistent exercise regimen. Consistently eating well and exercise is the secret to losing weight and long-term health.

If buying a treadmill is an investment you’ve been thinking about, you’re not alone. It is indeed an investment … in your health.

Actually, you can save money if you opt for a treadmill in your home by saving on gym fees.

Regardless of the reason you want to buy a treadmill, there are some treadmill buying guidelines to consider. Actually, more importantly, there are treadmill buying mistakes to avoid.

8 Treadmill Buying Mistakes to Avoid

1. Failing to look to the future

This is important with respect to 2 treadmill buying issues:

First, you may not need a folding treadmill now because you have a dedicated space, but what if you move? You may end up in a home in the future where you’ll want to store your treadmill away after each use. Given that most treadmills on the market today have a folding feature, it makes sense to get a folding treadmill.

Second, you may intend to use a treadmill only for walking now, but what if you graduate to running in the future? Treadmills for walking are different than treadmills for running. The great thing about a treadmill with sufficient power, running space, and speed for running is it’s also perfectly good for walking as well. This means you should get more treadmill than you believe you need now.

By more treadmill than you believe you need now, I’m referring to running surface size, speed and motor horsepower. The minimum running deck size to get for running is 20 inches wide by 55 inches long. If you’re six feet tall or taller, then look for a running surface that’s 60 inches long.

The most common top treadmill speeds are 10 to 12 miles per hour. I suggest getting a treadmill with a top speed of 12 miles per hour. 10 miles per hour is a 6 minute mile. For a long run, that’s fast enough for most runners. However, suppose you get into high intensity interval training (HIIT) where you sprint? You’ll be glad you bought a treadmill with the extra speed.

With respect to power, the minimum motor horsepower I suggest for a running treadmill is 2.50. If you weigh more than 200 pounds, you should seriously consider a 3.0 horsepower motor if you run (or may run in the future).

2. Failing to look closely at the warranty offered

Warranties are one of those things I routinely ignore when buying a product. However, when buying a treadmill, check out the warranty. A warranty is indicative of how much the treadmill manufacturer believes in the quality of a treadmill. Look for a treadmill with a lifetime warranty on the motor and frame.

3. Failing to get a treadmill outfitted with a wireless heart rate monitoring option

Most treadmills come with pulse grip heart rate monitoring. The better treadmills offer both pulse grip monitoring and wireless heart rate monitoring options. I dislike using the pulse grips because I prefer my hands and arms to be free to pump along whether walking or running. Hanging onto pulse grips actually reduces the energy you expend.

If you like doing workouts based on your heart rate (if you don’t now, you may in the future), then look for a treadmill with a wireless heart rate monitoring option.

4. Forgetting to get a treadmill with wheels

Have you tried lifting a treadmill? They’re heavy. Most treadmills are outfitted with wheels, but not all. Be sure the treadmill you buy has wheels for easy transportation within your home.

5. Failing to try a treadmill before buying

There’s no research quite like using a prospective product purchase. You won’t truly know what you like in a treadmill unless you actually use a few. Get a 1 week trial gym membership or go to a local treadmill retail store and test-run several treadmills.

Take a note pad with you and jot down notes about what you like and don’t like. Believe me, you won’t remember all the particular features you notice when actually using a treadmill. You can also jot down notes about models you like and models you didn’t like.

After you’ve tested several treadmills, and have your notes prepared, you can continue your research online. You can compare treadmills with respect to price and the features you’re looking for among the huge selection of treadmills available on the Internet.

The combination of test-driving treadmills and then researching online will prepare you to make the best treadmill buying decision to meet your present and future fitness goals.

6. Failing to consider buying a treadmill online

More and more people are buying products and services online, but if you haven’t taken the plunge to buying online, at the very least take a look at the treadmill options online.

Firstly, there’s far more selection online than in your local fitness equipment store.

Secondly, you’ll likely find much better deals online.

Thirdly, because the online treadmill selection is so robust, you’ll get a much better idea about the features and quality available simply reading about the many treadmills availabe on the Internet.

7. Buying a manual treadmill

I can’t recommend buying a manual treadmill. You don’t have to spend too much more money to get an okay motorized treadmill. Again, think of the future and consider your treadmill purchase as an investment. Manual treadmills aren’t cheap, yet for not too much more money, you can get a much better treadmill with a motor that will give you a smoother walking or running workout.

8. Paying the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (M.S.R.P.)

The fact is treadmills are very frequently on sale. In fact, I’d say they are on sale more often than not. If you find the perfect treadmill for you, and it’s not on sale, ask when it will go on sale, wait for it to go on sale, or look for a comparable model. There’s no need to pay the M.S.R,P.

How much will a treadmill with these recommended features cost?

The good news is that you get a lot more treadmill these days for less money than you did only a few short years ago. Expect to pay at least $750, and up to $2,000 for a quality treadmill. Again, look out for sales. Summer and Christmas are two very good treadmill buying opportunities.

The biggest mistake people make once having their treadmill is not using it. The point of getting a treadmill is for workout convenience. If you buy a treadmill, resolve to use it … even if it’s only 2 to 3 times each week.

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